Jeff Allen had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds and Virginia Tech’s defense held the Richmond Spiders to their lowest scoring output of the season en route to a 62-48 non-conference win Wednesday night at Cassell Coliseum.
With the victory, the Hokies moved to 11-5 overall on the season, winning for the sixth time in their past seven games and improving to 6-1 at Cassell this season. Tech also avenged last season’s 52-49 loss to the Spiders; a loss that played a role in the Hokies not receiving an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.
“They beat us last year and celebrated, and Coach [Greenberg] said that game was pretty much the game that kept us out of the tournament,” said Allen, who recorded his 15th career double-double. “So this year, we didn’t want to have to look back and think, ‘If we had beat them, we would have done this or done that.’”
Richmond fell to 9-7 overall on the season, losing for just the second time in six games.
This year, the game wasn’t in doubt, as the Hokies jumped out to a 7-0 lead and then used a 15-0 run midway through the first half to take a 24-6 lead with just under seven minutes remaining. Richmond, which didn’t score until freshman Josh Duinker hit a 3-pointer with 14:16 left in the half, missed its first seven shots from the floor and 19 of their first 21. The Spiders trailed by as many as 22 in the first half and by 20 at halftime.
“I thought the first 30 minutes were about as good as we’ve been defensively,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “We had a good scouting report and our guys really bought into the defensive game plan. They’re a good shooting team and this wasn’t reflective of how they can shoot the ball.
“At the end of the game, I got passive and that was my fault. But the game was won on the defensive end. We were mature defensively in terms of defending that offense. That’s not an easy offense to defend.”
For the game, Richmond shot just 31.1 percent from the floor – the second lowest by a Tech opponent this season (29.9 percent, Longwood). The Spiders came into the contest ranked 13th nationally in field-goal percentage at 49.3 percent.
“I thought they had a good defensive game plan and executed it,” Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. “We’re one of the better shooting teams in the country and shot very poorly tonight. We weren’t able to get as many good shots as we’d have liked. I give a lot of credit to Virginia Tech. They had a good defensive game plan and executed it.”
Tech, which out-rebounded the Spiders 48-30 and shot 45.1 percent from the floor itself, got a game-high 12 points from Malcolm Delaney and 10 from J.T. Thompson, who also grabbed eight rebounds. The Hokies’ leading scorer – A.D. Vassallo at 18 per game – scored just six points and spent a major portion of the game on the bench in foul trouble.
Kevin Anderson led the Spiders with 11 points. David Gonzalvez scored just nine after coming into the game leading the Spiders with a 16.5 per game average. A lot of the credit there goes to Thompson, who drew the defensive assignment on Gonzalvez.
“He’s a good athlete and he’s committed to being a defender,” Mooney said of Thompson. “Every shot David took was a difficult shot. He [Thompson] was relentless throughout the game.”
The Hokies now return to their conference schedule. They get ready to take on BC at Cassell this Saturday to conclude a three-game homestand. Tip off for the game is slated for 4 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).
For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).